The Nissan Titan Pro-4X doesn’t often surpass the most popular half-ton pickups like the RAM 1500, Ford F-150, or others delivering stouter tow capacity and better fuel efficiency. That said, the towing capacity of a Toyota Tundra ranges from 8,800 to 10,200 pounds, whereas the Titan Pro-4X models span 9,260 to 11,040 pounds — enough for plenty of drivers. So, if you’re looking for a spacious rig with a quiet, comfortable, and functional cabin and smooth handling, the 2021 Nissan Titan Pro-4X could be on your shortlist.
The biggest spotlight on the Titan Pro-4X is that the interior was overhauled in 2020 with conventional, thoughtful features that support a daily driver and all-around work truck. The space is functional with a touch of luxury for a light-duty pickup. Otherwise, the design remains largely unchanged.
Of the entire Titan lineup — which features models ranging from $36,950 to $62,710 — we took the 2021 Nissan Titan Pro-4X Crew Cab 4X4 out for a two-week test ride. Here’s our impression of how the truck handled on and off the pavement.
2021 Nissan Titan Pro-4X Review
I drove the 2021 Nissan Titan Pro-4X on a 3,400-mile road trip through the West. My partner and I started at home in Crested Butte, Colorado, and ventured to the Pacific Northwest to ski mountaineer, followed by ocean surfing in Washington. We then linked up river surf spots in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.
For the trip, we towed the Taxa Outdoors TigerMoth Overland — a durable, nimble off-road travel trailer with a base weight of 1,458 pounds — plus a ton of outdoor gear and food for backcountry cookouts. We completely topped off the 5.5-foot truck bed with our ski mountaineering and river surfing equipment. The gear was stashed in large duffle-style dry bags, water-proof plastic bins, and a Sportube, as well as a cooler.
With this high-mileage trip, most of our drive time was on fast highways or winding roads on paved or gravel mountain passes. We also ventured on rough, potholed, washboard dirt routes and steep, uneven segments to reach dispersed backcountry camp spots. Overall, the conditions varied from bone dry and muddy to completely drenched with standing water, especially after one particular torrential downpour along the Washington coast.
The full-size 2021 Nissan Titan Pro-4X features a 5.6L V8 engine with 400 hp, 413 lb.-ft. of torque, and a 9-speed automatic transmission. In short, the Pro-4X does a great job of dressing up the basic S and SV trims. Starting with the base S trim, the Titan boasts superior safety features like lane departure warning. The SV trim adds attractive upgrades like the NissanConnect Wi-Fi Hotspot and power-heated outside mirrors, a no-brainer for the seven-month winters where I live in Colorado’s Elk Mountains.
The Pro-4X includes the S and SV features plus upgrades that I wouldn’t personally go without as someone who lives in the mountains and often works remotely from the road. For instance, I appreciated the rear 110-volt outlet, rain-sensing wipers, dedicated cell phone holder, and the LED headlights: fog, low, and high beam.
The backseat conversion was optimal with a fold-up seat, panels that folded flat for cargo, and an under-seat organizer. My 2017 Toyota Tacoma has a similar design. When I’m not using my backseat for backcountry ski partners, I almost always slide in gear bins.
The Pro-4X also comes with a receiver hitch and built-in 4- and 7-pin connector, which we need for hauling a trailer loaded with snowmobiles or dirt bikes. I also appreciated the rear A/C for long drives with groceries — as many rural drivers need — or carpooling with friends and dogs. And the leather seats are a must for easy maintenance with outdoor or ranch life, which inherently gets a truck dirty and smelly. If I were in the market for a Titan, I’d go with this trim package.
Composed Highway Handling
Critics of this truck have noted that the ride quality doesn’t match other light-duty trucks, but we were impressed. For a full-size truck bigger than my Tacoma and equal to my partner’s F-150, it felt smooth while blasting along at 80-85 mph highway speeds.
The Titan Pro-4X accelerated and climbed ascents with ease. The truck was manageable and steady for lane changes at high speeds and rapid stops when elk and deer appeared on mountain passes at night. I never needed to muscle the steering wheel, nor was it overly responsive.
The adaptive cruise control was seamless and automatically slowed down the truck behind slower vehicles, then regained speed once we passed. The cab was also noiseless, a welcomed trait for a long trip. And, call it vain, the mud flaps did an awesome job of preventing mud from flying up on the finish.
One drawback we noticed: The automatic 9-speed transmission also has a manual shift mode, controlled by buttons via the right-hand lever on the steering column. It was nice to control the gears, especially when ascending hills and keeping the RPMs low. However, despite manually shifting, the transmission would still automatically downshift upon hard acceleration.
The 2021 Nissan Titan Pro-4X’s off-road capabilities are underrated. The lineup’s stock shocks are swapped out in the Pro-4X for Bilstein monotube coil-overs, which muted bumpy, rough routes really well. For steep and rough backcountry segments, we popped the truck into 4WD and dropped into the crawler first gear, enabling us to drive slow and precise through rugged terrain.
The truck comes with 9.8-inches of clearance, and in rocky areas, the front skid plate gave us added peace of mind. The 18-inch wheels and all-terrain General 275/70R18 tires provided pleasantly secure grip on dry washboard, over mountain passes with sharp turns, in mud, and on drenched roads.
I’d be eager to test the tires on snow. And we never needed the locking rear differential, but I’d like to see how the addition tackles the old mining roads around Colorado as well as the winter conditions. The two front tow hooks are standard — fortunately, we didn’t need those either — and key for off-road or winter season emergencies. Despite being big, the truck maneuvers well, and all the included safety technologies helped us navigate tight off-road spaces.
Solid Tech and Sensitive Safety Features
On a high note, the 2021 Nissan Titan Pro-4X is fully loaded with safety and technology. There’s a clear, sharp nine-inch, high-resolution touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, as well as a suite of apps that provide real-time info like the weather. Though there’s an online POI search, we found that many locations — like trailheads and campgrounds — weren’t listed. We typically uploaded the destination into our phone apps and connected through Bluetooth.
We liked the lane departure warning, which vibrated the steering wheel and issued a flashing light on the display if you crossed either line. The rain-sensing wipers helped us relax while driving through on-and-off rain showers. The automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection worked well, with an audio alert if traffic or people were ahead followed by gradually activating the brakes if you approached too close.
The Intelligent Around View Monitor made parking this full-size puppy possible, especially in places like downtown Missoula. It includes four cameras for a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of the truck, plus alerts if any moving objects are detected nearby. And when you’ve been driving for a while, the intelligent driver alertness pops into the display, asking if you need a break.
There’s also an audible alert for front-area obstacles while the truck is in drive and for front or rear obstacles while in reverse. Additionally, there’s a blind spot warning and rear automatic braking. One critique I have is that the alarms would go berserk when we backed up with the trailer attached. It’d be great to see this feature advance to recognize that the attached trailer is not an object that will be hit. Also, the beeping gets a little intense if you’re off-roading in a densely forested corridor or around piles of big rocks. But functionally, the system works.
Several times, the high beam assist (which can be manually deactivated) successfully turned off the brights with approaching drivers in the mountains and prairies. But many other times, the brights shut off way too early, detecting headlights far in the distance or even misidentified rural building lights as headlights.
Furthermore, I couldn’t depend on them to turn back on quickly enough. When you’re night driving in the mountains, it’s crucial to have brights to prevent hitting any wildlife. Even the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated the 2020 Nissan Titan headlights as poor. I’d like to see the headlights and the high beam assist improved in the future.
2021 Nissan Titan Pro-4X: Spacious & Utilitarian
The cabin is one of the truck’s premier features. It’s comfortable, spacious, and full of storage. The front row legroom stretches nearly 42 inches, and the back row offers close to 39 inches. We double-stacked rows of plastic bins with bedding and gear in the back seat.
The truck has 12 cup holders in the front and back seats, so we shuffled around tons of water bottles, coffee mugs, and kombucha on long driving stints. The dedicated cell phone holder was wide enough for both of our phones, side-by-side. The center console was cavernous, with a stable shelf to slide in two laptops, and the storage space didn’t get too warm. The heated and air-conditioned front seats made driving through all conditions a breeze, especially if my laptop was plugged in and on my lap.
Our truck was upgraded with the 12-speaker Fender sound system, which I loved on the road trip for the clear, crisp sound. And the dual-panel panoramic moonroof, another upgrade, made the traffic and bison jams on our full-day excursion in Yellowstone National Park so much more enjoyable.
Though I prefer a longer truck bed — my Toyota’s is 6.5 feet — the Titan’s design had several attributes that I really liked. Our Titan Pro-4X had a bed assist grip, a round hand lever that pops up for you to grab when you’re climbing into the truck bed. At first, I thought it was silly but surprisingly came to love it for the sake of keeping my clothes free of grime.
The same goes for the rear bumper step assist, a step that pops down and retracts when not in use. It helped me maintain more distance from the truck’s exterior and keep my apparel clean when grabbing stuff from the truck bed. Both the step and grip are separate accessories that can be added to the Titan Pro-4X.
First, the truck bed’s system for fastening down cargo is awesome. The setup includes four aluminum-alloy cleats that slide along the bed’s channels then tighten down. We used the tie-down points to secure the plastic Sportube — which had to lie in the bed diagonally to fit — and camp chairs, among other miscellaneous gear.
Altogether, we filled the bed with two large duffle-style dry bags, two waterproof bins, a huge water-proof case with camera equipment, and the Sportube. I didn’t have to worry about beating up the bed, thanks to the burly spray-on bed liner. I loved the two exterior LED cab lights, and four LED bed lights, which illuminated the truck bed when we arrived in pitch-black at camp, which was frequent. Also, despite being dense, the tailgate felt light when opened and closed — it never slammed.
2021 Nissan Titan Pro-4X: Models & Pricing
The 2021 Nissan Titan Pro-4X Crew Cab 4X4 that I tested starts at $51,885, including the destination charge. With a longer bed and more compact cab, the Titan Pro-4X King Cab 4X4 sits at nearly $49,665. The Titan Pro-4X XD Crew Cab 4X4 delivers the most towing capacity — 11,040 pounds with a gooseneck hitch — and comes in at $56,115. By contrast, the Titan Pro-4X 4X4 maxes out at a 9,210-pound tow capacity.
While they have the same cab, the Titan and Titan XD have different chassis and suspensions. Each of these trucks comes standard with the same engine and transmission combo: 400 hp and 413 lb.-ft. of torque is produced by the 5.6L V8 engine, paired with the 9-speed automatic transmission. A step above competitors, Nissan provides a five-year or 100,000-mile warranty, one of the best in the industry.
Nissan Titan Pro-4X: Who It’s For
The 2021 Nissan Titan Pro-4X is a good daily driver for a truck owner who wants to commute and work in comfort, supported by many functional features. As a full-size 4X4 truck, the cab is roomy, and the bed is on the smaller end. This light-duty truck serves lower-end hauling needs.
We wouldn’t have been able to use this rig for our multi-sport adventure if we didn’t have the trailer, roof rack, or shell. The max payload for this 5,798-pound truck is 1,650 pounds, the GVWR is 7,300, and the max towing capacity is 9,210 pounds. Those ranges are plenty for a lot of recreationists or laborers.
My biggest complaint is that the 26-gallon fuel tank didn’t last as long as I hoped. The EPA fuel economy estimate for this truck is 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway, which is fairly standard for a pickup. We experienced an average of 12-13 mpg despite hauling a light trailer. I don’t mind paying for premium gasoline, which Nissan recommends, but I expect better fuel economy in a 2021 truck.
Ultimately, if you don’t have enormous towing needs and need a modern daily driver, consider checking out the 2021 Nissan Titan Pro-4X.
Photo Credit: Eric Phillips